UFC Fight Night Report: Frankie Edgar defeats Pedro Munhoz in bantamweight debut
By: Eric Marcotte
On Saturday evening, the UFC hosted a Fight Night card from the UFC Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. After being scheduled, canceled, and then rescheduled numerous times throughout the past couple of months, Frankie Edgar finally made his bantamweight debut on this night, against the fifth-ranked Pedro Munhoz. Edgar, now 38, had flirted with the idea of dropping to bantamweight for quite some time, and after dropping three of his last four fights at featherweight, it was time to make the move. For Munhoz, inactivity has been the story following his loss to Aljamain Sterling in June of 2019. This fight marked his first main event, and a win against an established name like Frankie Edgar would do a lot to help him recapture the momentum he had after knocking out Cody Garbrandt last year.
Hours before the card began, Ovince Saint Preux was forced to withdraw from his bout with Alonzo Menifield due to a positive COVID-19 test. This was added to the lengthy list of canceled bouts for this card, a list that includes the likes of Yoel Romero versus Uriah Hall, and Angela Hill versus Michelle Waterson.
Commentary for this card was provided by the duo of Jon Anik and Dominick Cruz. Performance bonuses were awarded to Trevin Jones and Shana Dobson. Fight of the Night bonuses was awarded to Frankie Edgar and Pedro Munhoz.
*Trevin Jones def. Timur Valiev by TKO at 1:59 of Round 2
*Matt Semelsberger def. Carlton Minus by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
*Jordan Wright def. Isaac Villanueva by TKO at 1:38 of Round 1
*Amanda Lemos def. Mizuki by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Daniel Rodriguez def. Dwight Grant by KO at 2:24 of Round 1
*Shana Dobson def. Mariya Agapova by TKO at 1:38 of Round 2
*Joe Solecki def. Austin Hubbard by rear-naked choke at 3:51 of Round 1
*Mike Rodriguez def. Marcin Prachnio by KO at 2:17 of Round 1
*Frankie Edgar def. Pedro Munhoz by split decision (48-47, 48-47, 46-49)
TIMUR VALIEV (16-2, 140) VS TREVIN JONES (12-6, 140.5) – CATCHWEIGHT
Valiev was a significant favorite in this fight. His kicking game looked strong early, mixing up his attacks to the head, legs, and body. Valiev caught Jones with a beautiful combination to the body. He was dominating this fight on the feet, and his creative striking was impressive. Valiev downed Jones with a kick to the body, and he just started unloading on Jones. This fight could very well have been stopped as Valiev threw a barrage of uppercuts, hooks, flush head kicks, and numerous body shots, but Jones hung in there and finished the round with a takedown. This was a clear 10-8 round for Valiev.
The second round was looking like it was going to be more of the same, but Jones landed a counter right hook that knocked Valiev down, and he swarmed Valiev with ground and pound strikes until the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Trevin Jones by TKO at 1:59 of Round 2
This was a spectacular comeback victory and a huge upset win for Trevin Jones. He took this fight on a couple of days notice, was a huge underdog, and was nearly finished in the first round, but he timed that right hook perfectly in the second. I do feel for Valiev, who looked spectacular and was not given the same chance to recover as Jones was in the first, but that’s MMA. This was Jones’s UFC debut, and he has won his last three fights.
MATT SEMELSBERGER (6-2, 170) VS CARLTON MINUS (10-1, 1 NC, 170) – WELTERWEIGHT
Semelsberger opened up the fight with a solid right hand, which Minus quickly returned. Semelsberger landed a number of strikes as Minus covered up against the cage, but was cut by a jab in the exchange. Semelsberger connected with a 1-2 and followed it up with a kick to the body. His shots seemed to have a bit more behind them, and his output was significantly higher throughout the round. 10-9 Semelsberger.
Semelsberger was working his jab to begin the second round. About halfway through the round, he dropped Minus with a right hand and proceeded to take his back. He locked in a body triangle and began to hunt for the submission finish. Minus escaped the position with a minute to go in the round and landed a solid straight right hand. 20-18 Semelsberger.
Minus knew he was down on the scorecards, and he was fighting more aggressively in the final round. He got tagged by a lead elbow from Semelsberger. Semelsberger took Minus down with a double leg and caught him with a couple of strikes on the break after Minus worked his way up. They ended the round trading wildly, which is always the best way to end a fight. I scored this fight 30-27 for Semelsberger.
WINNER: Matt Semelsberger by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
Semelsberger just seemed like the better fighter in every category here. He controlled the striking, the grappling, and clearly hit harder. Minus was getting lit up by powerful strikes for the better part of fifteen minutes, and to his credit, he always kept himself in the fight and ended the final round strong. This was Semelsberger’s UFC debut, and with this win, he improved to 7-2 professionally.
JORDAN WRIGHT (10-0, 1 NC, 205.5) VS ISAAC VILLANUEVA (16-10, 200) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Wright floored Villanueva with a spinning heel kick in the opening seconds of the fight. Villanueva jumped back to his feet and engaged Wright in the clinch. Wright soon gained the advantage from this position, and threw numerous knees to the head and body of Villanueva, busting him open badly right above his right eye. Referee Jason Herzog brought in the doctor to take a look at the cut, and almost instantly, the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Jordan Wright by TKO at 1:38 of Round 1
There is only so much to be said about such a quick, one-sided fight, but Wright looked great here. He knocked Villanueva down in the opening seconds, and then put a beating on him until the fight was stopped. He is now 11-0 (1 NC), with ten first-round finishes. Naturally, he didn’t face the strongest competition on the regional scene, but he backed that record up with this performance (after a poor showing on the Contenders Series in 2018). He is someone to keep an eye on, especially if he sticks around at Light Heavyweight.
MIZUKI (14-5, 115.5) VS AMANDA LEMOS (7-1-1, 115.5) – STRAWWEIGHT
Mizuki was trying to close the distance as Lemos was content to sit back and counter when Mizuki tried to work her way in. Lemos caught Mizuki with a spinning elbow. Mizuki eventually succeeded in closing the distance and pressed Lemos against the cage. Lemos landed a 4-5 punch combination as she broke from the clinch. Lemos knocked Mizuki down with a right hand, and she jumped on her, looking to finish the fight. Mizuki attempted to throw up an armbar, but couldn’t get it, and Lemos let her return to the feet. Lemos ended the round with a hip toss. 10-9 Lemos.
Lemos opened up the second round with a pair of leg kicks, and Mizuki brought her back against the cage. She landed a few elbows from this position, her best strikes of the fight thus far. Mizuki was throwing solid Kamaru Usman-esque body shots from this position and attempted to take Lemos down, but Lemos overpowered her and ended up on top. Mizuki was clearly comfortable working off her back, but Lemos was doing an excellent job of staying active and avoiding potential submissions. I thought this was a very tough round to score, but I gave the edge to Lemos.
Mizuki brought Lemos to the cage once again to begin the third. She racked up some control time here, but was unable to take Lemos down, or land any strikes of significance. Still, when Lemos broke off, Mizuki brought her right back to the cage and was always moving forward when they were separated. I scored the fight 29-28 Lemos
WINNER: Amanda Lemos by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
Mizuki had a decent game plan here, but Lemos was just too well rounded. Whenever Mizuki tried to take the fight to the ground, Lemos overpowered her, and Lemos was clearly the better striker from the opening round. The fight was closer than the judge’s scorecards suggest, but Lemos definitely gave a good account of herself here. She is now 2-1 in the UFC, and this marked her first win by decision.
DWIGHT GRANT (10-2, 169.5) VS DANIEL RODRIGUEZ (12-1, 170.5) – WELTERWEIGHT
Both Grant and Rodriguez’s original opponents were forced to withdraw from their respective fights on Friday, and these two were promptly scheduled to face each other instead.
In the opening minute of the fight, Grant dropped Rodriguez with counter left hand followed by a right hook, and he started raining down right hands down onto the grounded Rodriguez. I thought the fight was going to be stopped, but the referee was very lenient. Rodriguez worked his way back to his feet and dropped Grant with a short-left hand of his own, and when Grant picked himself up, he looked shaky. Both of these guys were swinging for the fences. Rodriguez dropped him with another left hand against the cage, and as Grant picked himself up, Rodriguez landed a pair of right hands that knocked him out.
WINNER: Daniel Rodriguez by KO at 2:24 of Round 1
Wow. This was unquestionably a round of the year candidate. If you didn’t catch this fight, I would definitely suggest going back to watch this one. This fight was put together on a day’s notice, and it massively over-delivered. I’m shocked that the fight wasn’t stopped when Rodriguez was eating right hand after right hand on the ground, but regardless of the referee’s decision making, he worked his way back up and finished the fight. Rodriguez is now 3-0 in the UFC.
MARIYA AGAPOVA (9-1, 125.5) VS SHANA DOBSON (3-4, 126) – FLYWEIGHT
Agapova was a massive favorite going into this fight.
Agapova immediately overwhelmed Dobson on the feet with an insane pace, throwing numerous head kicks in seconds. Dobson took her down to relieve that pressure, but Agapova quickly worked her way back to her feet and tripped Dobson to the ground. Dobson escaped the positon and connected with an uppercut as she got back to her feet, before taking down Agapova once again. Dobson took Agapova’s back, and she began to search for an armbar, but Agapova escaped the position ended the round in top position.
Agapova dragged Dobson back to the ground to begin the second round. Dobson ended up on top and began to throw down ground and pound strikes, looking to end the fight. Agapova was exhausted and overwhelmed, and Dobson picked up the second-round stoppage.
WINNER: Shana Dobson by TKO at 1:38 of Round 2
Dobson was one of the biggest betting underdogs in UFC history going into this fight, and this was a massive upset. To be honest, I thought the odds on this fight were completely insane, but Agapova’s UFC debut was dominant, and Dobson came into the fight with a losing record, so you can see how the odds closed at what they did. Dobson is now 2-3 in the UFC.
AUSTIN HUBBARD (12-4, 156) VS JOE SOLECKI (9-2, 155.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Solecki backed Hubbard into the cage and transitioned to a back-body lock. He climbed onto his back and locked in the body triangle, Demian Maia style. Solecki landed some solid left hands from this position, alternating between the head and body. Solecki eventually looked for the rear-naked choke, and he got it, finishing Hubbard in the first round.
WINNER: Joe Solecki by rear-naked choke at 3:51 of Round 1
This was a perfect performance from Joe Solecki. He took practically no damage and got the first-round finish. Hubbard is no slouch, but Solecki made it look easy here. He is now 2-0 in the UFC.
MIKE RODRIGUEZ (10-4, 1 NC, 205.5) VS MARCIN PRACHNIO (13-4, 205.5) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Prachnio opened up the fight with a series of leg kicks. Prachnio brought Rodriguez against the cage but ate some hard knees in the clinch. The knees forced Prachnio to back up, but Rodriguez kept him in the Muay Thai clinch and floored him with a huge elbow. Rodriguez followed him to the floor and landed two brutal right hands that put Prachnio out.
WINNER: Mike Rodriguez by KO at 2:17 of Round 1
Rodriguez hasn’t exactly had a smooth ride thus far into his UFC tenure, but he was catapulted into the co-main event of this card, and he capitalized on the opportunity. He was patient here, carefully picking his shots, and once Prachnio engaged him in the clinch, he took over with knees and elbows. This was a great performance and his ninth first-round stoppage. Rodriguez is now 2-2 (1 NC) in the UFC.
PEDRO MUNHOZ (18-4, 1 NC, 136) VS FRANKIE EDGAR (23-8-1, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
This fight marked Frankie Edgar’s bantamweight debut.
Munhoz caught Edgar with a solid leg kick early. Frankie’s boxing was looking good in their early exchanges. Munhoz continued to attack Edgar’s lead leg. Munhoz connected with a looping right hand, one of his best strikes of the opening round. Munhoz was pulling ahead in their striking exchanges as the round progressed. They both landed solid combinations to end the round. 10-9 Munhoz.
Frankie landed a right hand that busted Munhoz open near his left eye. Edgar slipped and Munhoz connected with a right hand as he picked himself up. Edgar took Munhoz down, but Munhoz popped right back up. Frankie connected with a spin kick to the body and attempted another takedown. Unlike the first round, Edgar was tagging Munhoz whenever he’d close the distance. 19-19 on my scorecard.
Munhoz continued to find success with his jab and his leg kicks. Edgar connected with a big left hook, one of the bigger strikes of the fight. A cut had opened up below Edgar’s left eye. Munhoz was throwing much more leg kicks in this round then he did in the second, and they were impacting Frankie’s movement. 29-28 Munhoz going into the fourth.
Edgar took Munhoz down to kick off the fourth round, but once again Munhoz made it back to his feet in seconds. Munhoz caught Frankie with another right hand as he was circling left. Munhoz connected with a pair of kicks to the body and Edgar responded with a left hook. Munhoz landed another right hand in the pocket. Edgar was continuously throwing in combinations, and then Munhoz would return fire with that big right hand every time. The jab of Munhoz continued to find its home, and he ended the round with yet another big right hand. This round was very close, but I gave the edge to Munhoz.
Munhoz defended a takedown attempt from Edgar, and Frankie stumbled a bit on his compromised leg. They traded wildly in the pocket for a moment, both men landing big hooks. Edgar landed another right hook. Munhoz continued to attack Edgar’s lead leg and landed a front kick to the body. Both men continued to land big right hands as the fight neared its conclusion. I scored this fight 48-47 Munhoz.
WINNER: Frankie Edgar by split decision (48-47, 48-47, 46-49)
This was a great fight. The fight pretty much comes down to how you scored the fourth round, which was super close. Edgar looked great at bantamweight, especially with his current age taken into account, and this is a move he probably should have made a couple of years ago. With this win, Edgar will likely move right into the top five at bantamweight, and there are no easy fights ahead of him. Rescheduling the Cory Sandhagen fight would be sensible, but I wouldn’t be opposed to a five rounder against Dominick Cruz either.
Despite the loss, this was a great performance for Pedro Munhoz, who kept up a great pace for twenty-five minutes, despite throwing bombs from the opening round. I thought he won the fight, and I doubt his stock will be hurt much despite the loss. I’d like to see him step in the octagon with Jose Aldo or rematch Jimmie Rivera next.